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China 'monster ship' deployed to intimidate BRP Teresa Magbanua -PCG

China 'monster ship' deployed to intimidate BRP Teresa Magbanua -PCG

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said the China Coast Guard ship CCG 5901, the world's largest coast guard ship known as "The Monster," was deployed to the Escoda Shoal to intimidate the BRP Teresa Magbanua.

PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Jay Tarriela said that BRP Teresa Magbanua's deployment to the Escoda Shoal was the longest deployment of the Coast Guard in the WPS.

“The reason why the Monster ship was deployed in Escoda Shoal is to intimidate ang ating Coast Guard vessel 9701,” Tarriela told reporters.

“Alam naman natin na for more than 60 days or more than two months na na-sustain ng Teresa Magbanua ang presence niya rito sa Escoda Shoal,” he added.

(We know that for more than 60 days or more than two months, Teresa Magbanua has sustained her presence here at Escoda Shoal.)

BRP Teresa Magbanua has been stationed in Escoda Shoal since April amid reports of China’s reclamation activities in the area.

Escoda or Sabina Shoal is located 75 nautical miles or about 140 kilometers off Palawan and is considered within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

It is a coral reef formation with a central lagoon surrounded by discontinuous shallow sections.

Using Canada's Dark Vessel Detection technology, the Philippine Coast Guard was able to successfully track the movements of the Chinese Coast Guard's 165-meter monster ship, CCG-5901. 

On July 1st, the ship departed from Hainan and entered the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) the next day. 

On July 3rd, it traveled directly to Ayungin Shoal and later proceeded to Panganiban Reef. 

After a few hours, the ship was detected once again, this time heading towards Escoda Shoal. 

She was radio-challenged by the PCG's BRP Teresa Magbanua. The PCG asked the intention of the Chinese ship and emphasized that it was operating within the Philippines' EEZ.  

For over two consecutive days, the Chinese Coast Guard ship has been anchored at Escoda Shoal, sitting near BRP Teresa Magbanua. The distance between the two vessels is less than 800 yards, with the Chinese ship positioned on the starboard beam of the PCG vessel.

“Before meron pa siyang 0.5 nautical mile na layo pero ngayon meron lang siyang [several hundred] yards na layo sa BRP Teresa Magbanua,” he said.

(Before she was still 0.5 nautical miles away. But now, it is only several hundred yards away from BRP Teresa Magbanua.)

From June 17 to 27, Chinese vessels also conducted an intrusive patrol in the WPS.

Its voyage in the WPS happened on the same day as the violent incident in Ayungin Shoal involving Chinese and Filipino personnel that resulted in one Filipino sailor losing his thumb.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion in annual ship commerce. Its territorial claims overlap with those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Manila refers to parts of the waters within its exclusive economic zone as the West Philippine Sea.

In 2016, an international arbitration tribunal in the Hague ruled that China's claims over the South China Sea had no legal basis, a decision Beijing does not recognize. — DVM, GMA Integrated News